A big announcement was just made regarding Center City District’s Parks and Public realm.
According to a release, Prema Katari Gupta will assume the role of Vice President for the Parks and Public Realm, effective February 24. Prior to joining CCD, Gupta most recently served as Senior Vice President of Navy Yard Planning and Real Estate Development. In that role, she led a 16-person team managing all aspects of strategic partnerships, planning, leasing, real estate development, marketing, communications, capital projects, site stewardship, public transportation, and property management at the Navy Yard on behalf of the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC).
“Prema brings to us a broad range of experience with parks, real estate development and partnerships with city government, which will help CCD continue to improve and enhance our parks and public spaces,” CCD President and CEO Paul R. Levy said in the release.
Gupta’s new role will lead her to direct and supervise the operations of the four parks currently owned by or leased to CCD: Dilworth Park adjacent to City Hall, which according to the release hosted more than 10 million visitors in 2019; Sister Cities Park, a multigenerational park with a focus on engaging families with young children; Cret Park on the 1600 block of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway; and John F. Collins Park on the 1700 block of Chestnut Street.
Other duties will include day-to-day management and continuous improvement of these parks, which is safe to say the main objective in the new role. Gupta will also oversee extensive streetscape enhancements that the CCD has made during the last two decades in an effort to continue to maintain these changes, including pedestrian scale and building facade lighting, planters, street trees, directional signs, pedestrian counting technology and other streetscape improvements across the entire downtown.
A full overview can be found at centercityphila.org. In addition, Gupta will also oversee any new capital projects that CCD undertakes.
Gupta, a Connecticut native will be taking the place of Steven Bussey, who retired from the position last year.
According to the release, prior to her work at the Navy Yard, Gupta was the Director of Planning and Economic Development at University City District, where she was responsible for the execution of several prominent civic real estate projects, including The Porch at 30th Street Station. She previously worked for PIDC in the Real Estate Services group, where she managed a variety of real estate transactions and planning efforts in PIDC’s Center City real estate office. Additionally, she has worked at Yale University and at the Urban Land Institute, where she wrote a book about placemaking and mixed-use development.